This article originally appeared in epicconnections.com.
by Bill Pieper
| Sep 10, 2018
Your industry needs, your business needs, and your operations are extremely unique, making no two cloud contact center solutions alike. The implementation process is a metamorphosis that takes a cloud contact center technology platform and transforms it into the right solution for your company.
But with so many variables and configurations involved, identifying your contact center needs can be a tricky process. Many clients, vendors, and even consultants get caught in traps during the design and implementation phases. Here are the cloud contact center implementation pitfalls to avoid and the best practices executives need to craft solutions that meet your company’s needs.
The First Step: Avoiding RFP and Sales Pitfalls
During this first phase, it’s critical that a company assess its internal needs and create and document business requirements. Moreover, they should weight their criteria, identifying the prioritization and order of key requirements for the base infrastructure needed.
If possible, these exercises should be performed BEFORE
engaging with vendors, because alignment around the core framework positions clients to shortcut the buying and solution-design process, keeping them focused on needs. RFP processes are known to drag on, and vendors are known to influence and upsell buyers, losing clients in a maze of features and functions that can result in multi-million-dollar solutions when a simple ACD (Automatic Call Distribution) function would have done the job.
Build your requirements based on an outline of your needs, including:
Step Two: Sidestepping Technology and Vendor Pitfalls
- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)
- Service Level Objectives
- Call flows relating to customer services
- Inbound call services
- Dialer functionality
- IVR routing and self-service goals
- CRM integration
- Alternative channels, i.e. chat, email, text, social media, video
- Agent skill sets
- Forecasting and scheduling
- Analytics and reports
- Agent productivity
- Quality assurance and management
- Customer satisfaction surveys
- Customer experience
- In-house technical expertise
Matching your needs with the right cloud contact center solution and vendor is the next potential pitfall and critical step. The difference between tier-1, tier-2, and tier-3 technology solutions is typically the sophistication and breadth of technology features and functionalities. At the surface, many technologies will all fit the bill. So, it’s a matter of understanding the simplicity or sophistication of your needs and aligning them with the right tools.
Vendors are often resellers who serve up a variety of cloud contact center platforms to choose from. Remember that many vendors sell the same solutions. So, just like technology features, you will see a lot of redundancy. The key is to put each vendor under the microscope.
Evaluate the vendor’s abilities as it relates to:
- Technology solution and cost
- Experience, technical acumen
- Project management processes, professional services, implementation resources and time to market
- Customer loyalty and satisfaction ratings
- Industry experience
- Industry rating (i.e. Gartner reviews)
Scorecard methodologies may be a helpful tool to weighting functionality and other important items.
Detail Your Needs: Preventing Implementation Pitfalls
Once the technology is selected and implementation partners are in place, the detail work begins in creating the best suited design for your contact center. This phase is often the most expensive outside of the technology purchase and the most difficult to execute correctly due to three common pitfalls:
- Inadequate Professional Services: Vendors may have lowered the price of their implementation service to win the business, resulting in a lack of resources allocated
- Project Mismanagement: Insufficient resources or experience and a lack of oversight result in delivery failures
- Solution Rigidity: The inability to continually optimize the solution after initial implementation hinders expected long term outcomes
Here are best practices to avoid these three missteps.
Professional Services Best Practices
Proactive negotiation and careful contract review ensures an adequate amount of time and resources are dedicated to the project. This is particularly important as it relates to:
- Call flow documentation, workflow processes, agent skillset design, and alignment processes
- Systems and management tools: IVR, QA, WFM, speech analytics
- Features and desktop applications used by agents, supervisors
- CRM integrations for screen pop, self-service, and other functionality
- Implementation and seamless go live migration
- Agent, supervisor, and system administration training
Your documented business requirements should be your guide here, saving you time, money and safeguarding a strong return on investment.
Project Management Best Practices
Bi-directional working relationships are key for success. Project management resources and relationship owners should be assigned on both the vendor side AND on the client side
for proper oversight, holding both parties accountable for their deliverables and ensuring expectations are met. The client’s project manager should be actively involved in managing all aspects of the implementation process, including understanding when unexpected things occur, how to resolve problems, updating of the implementation plans and ensuring deliverables are met, and escalating issues as needed. Additionally, these documents and processes facilitate success:
- Scope of work document with a detailed implementation plan
- Documented roles and responsibilities and processes for problem solving, escalations, etc.
- Schedules and procedures for testing, implementation
- Tracked costs: acquired technology, implementation costs, and monthly recurring fees
The client should also have their own project plan that outlines responsibilities, resources, schedules, dependencies, and acceptance procedures.
Solution Agility Best Practices
It’s common for even the most successful implementations to be followed by the need for more changes to fully optimize contact center performance metrics. These additional (sometimes unforeseen) requirements increase the importance of the flexibility of both the solution and the service relationship. Who performs this work will dictate the cost of post-implementation changes. Before you sign a contract, understand:
- Costs associated with additions, moves, and changes and understand how these map into the statement of work (roles and responsibilities)
- Resources that will provide post-implementation add-on work and day-to-day support
- Monthly recurring fees for licensing, support, etc.
- Manufacturer warranties as well as the vendor’s satisfaction guarantee
- Contract renewals and discounts for repeat customers
By proactively outlining a prioritized and weighted requirements list and ensuring the best technology and vendor relationships with the proper contracts and resources in place, cloud migration initiatives can produce an ideal solution for your contact center. Selecting the right partners in the effort can mean the difference between efficiency and frustration, and EPIC Connections is here to support your team with seasoned experience.
Call on EPIC
to guide your contact center journey into the cloud.